Youth Fire-Setting Issues and Intervention

Children and Fire

Most children have a natural curiosity about fire. At a very young age, children begin to learn about fire and fire tools, such as matches, lighters, candles, etc. Without proper guidance, education, and supervision, this curiosity can lead to fireplay and fire setting.  To view a facts sheet about children and fire, click here.


Fireplay occurs when a curious and unsupervised child experiments with matches, lighters or other heat sources. This can lead to accidentally setting something on fire, which can cause injuries and property damage. Children involved in fireplay typically are too young or otherwise incapable of understanding the full implications of their actions.

Fire Setting

In some cases, fireplay can develop into intentional and repeated fire-setting. Youth fire setting usually involves children who understand the implications of their actions, but choose to use fire inappropriately. Fire setting, also known as arson, is a serious problem that can cause devastating property damage, injuries, and even death. The consequences of fire setting can include physical injury, property damage, emotional trauma, criminal and civil charges, and significant financial implications. Early identification and intervention can help to avoid these circumstances.


Arson is a crime involving the intent to start a fire or light something on fire. Did you know that arson is the number one crime committed by children? In fact, about half of all arson-caused fires are started by children under the age of 18. Every year, numerous civilian and firefighter deaths result from arson fires.

Our Free Youth Fire-Setter Intervention Program

The Loveland Fire Rescue Authority’s Community Safety Division offers a free program for families dealing with youth fireplay and fire-setting issues. Our staff includes State certified Youth Fire-Setter Intervention Specialists, who have training and experience to assist families dealing with youth fireplay and fire-setting problems. To schedule a free family intervention session, please contact the Community Safety Division at (970) 962-2497.

Children’s Hospital YFS Program

For more in-depth evaluation and intervention, The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, offers help to families dealing with Youth fire-setting issues. Their comprehensive program utilizes experienced doctors, therapists, and social workers to help your family cope with this serious issue. Use the following link to get more information, or contact The Children’s Hospital at (720) 777-6200.

North Ranch Behavioral Health

Resources and counselors for families dealing with youth fire-setting issues can also be found at the North Range Behavioral Health facility located at 4943 Colorado Highway 52, Suite 205, Frederick, CO 80514.  Program Coordinator Abbey Keeney, LPC, CAC II, can be reached at (303) 857-1723 to provide more information about their program and services.


Other Resources

If you live outside the Loveland Fire Protection District, please check with your local fire authority to see if they offer youth fire-setter intervention services.

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